A natural sense of belonging

| Apr 17, 2003

A natural sense of belonging

I pass through the Heidelberg area of Baden-Buerttemberg in southwest Germany several times a year, and though I am transient there, I feel that I have roots — roots that come from a natural connectedness with the earth. The several thousand hectares of land ...

Mistletoe magic

| Apr 3, 2003

Mistletoe magic

I am back in my local wood in Hokkaido yet again. From one spot, I can see the fluffed-out form of a Ural owl sunning itself at the entrance of its day roost, while looking in another direction and a little higher in the ...

| Mar 20, 2003

If you go down to the woods . . .

As I enter the wood, I cast a glance to the arching canopy above, my ears ever alert for the sounds of the season. I have observed this wood through the turning of the years, and as I step inside between the towering trees ...

Fun guys can always find long-lasting allies

| Mar 6, 2003

Fun guys can always find long-lasting allies

A coworker of mine in the Galapagos takes great delight in corny cracks and groan-inducing jokes, but as learning aids they are indeed memorable. Take his way of teaching the partnership involved in the lichen lifestyle and where they live. With apologies to Ron ...

Wild frontier in the land of fire and ice

Mar 2, 2003

Wild frontier in the land of fire and ice

Hokkaido is a rough-cut northern diamond, both in shape and in its hidden natural riches — as well as the sparkle of snow and ice of its long Siberian winters. Lying between Sakhalin and Honshu, Hokkaido’s climate, culture and natural characteristics lean northward. In ...

How to label all life, and lichen?

| Feb 20, 2003

How to label all life, and lichen?

I am an inveterate binocular user, rarely going anywhere without a pair. They are useful not merely for enjoying scenery, and birds and mammals in their natural settings, but also for the odd peregrine falcon perched incongruously atop an urban high-rise, or for admiring ...

Delving deeper into the snows

| Feb 6, 2003

Delving deeper into the snows

At the end of my column last week, there I was on the Antarctic Peninsula pondering the pink hue of “watermelon snow” and wondering where had I heard about colored snow before. Eventually the fuzzy memory of a ridiculous refrain came back to me; ...

Cold facts and urban myths

| Jan 30, 2003

Cold facts and urban myths

First of two parts Depending on where you live in Japan, you may only have experienced a brief flurry of snow this winter. Perhaps if you live in southwestern Honshu or Kyushu, you won’t have seen any at all, except on the TV weather ...

Jan 26, 2003

Golden ages' glitter may be gone

The first exhibit of foreign animals in Japan seems to have been of Asian elephants imported from Vietnam in 1725 by Gen. Yoshimune Tokugawa. Originally a pair, the cow died soon after its arrival in Nagasaki, but the bull survived the overland journey to ...

Should zoos become extinct?

Jan 26, 2003

Should zoos become extinct?

Though I prefer seeing animals in the wild, I confess to being intrigued by zoos. I’m certainly not alone in my interest, as the long and varied history of zoological institutions shows. The first recorded instance of a zoo — or, at least, a ...